For the women’s hockey team, the players’ performances — not the final scores — will set the standard for the season to come.
Despite a 3-1 loss to Boston College on Saturday and a 2-1 loss in yesterday’s exhibition game against McGill, the Bulldogs made an impressive effort in both matches, and they are now looking at the season to come with high hopes.
The Saturday game, played at Boston’s Kelley Rink, pitted the as-yet-untried Yale team against the Boston College Eagles, whose 4-0-1 record bespeaks the team’s greater amount of experience so far this season.
“It’s tough to play a team that has three or four games behind it,” said Yale head coach Hilary Witt. “[Until Saturday], we hadn’t played yet. Once we got used to the speed of the game, though, we really took it to them.”
Team members said that the game opened badly for the Bulldogs when, less than five minutes into the first period, BC notched an early power play goal. About five minutes later, the Eagles added an even-strength goal, jumping out to a 2-0 lead. In the first period, BC outshot the Elis 12-2.
“We kind of messed up in the first period,” forward Denise Soesilo ’10 said. “Maybe we just weren’t clicking, but I think it was just that we were playing nervous hockey then.”
But the “nervous hockey” Soesilo described gave way to a strong second period in which the Elis shot 17 times compared to Boston College’s 10.
“Even though in the first period we came out a little slow, after that, we definitely played some of the best hockey I’ve seen,” said Carlee Ness ’09, who was sidelined due to illness. “I think we definitely played our hearts out.”
Forward Jenna Spring ’07 scored the Bulldogs’ only goal in the third period off of an assist by Soesilo, who dumped the puck to her teammate from behind the net.
“The puck was loose, and I managed to put it into the net,” said Spring. “It was nothing flashy, but it was great to score one since we’d been having a little trouble up until that point.”
Yesterday’s exhibition game against McGill took place at Ingalls Rink, where the Bulldogs faced an Olympic Gold Medalist in goal. Charline Labonte, starting goalkeeper for Team Canada in the 2006 Winter Olympics, made 28 saves.
“McGill is a good team with a phenomenal goaltender,” said Witt. “We had our chances [during the game], but we need to find a way to finish [strongly].”
Yale’s goaltender was rookie Ansley LaHue ’10, who made 19 saves during the course of the game, including one close enough to spur on a McGill celebration that was cut short when it was discovered that the goal had been denied.
Though both matches resulted in losses, the Bulldogs seemed optimistic about the team’s future.
“We were skating hard and passing well,” Ness said. “I think once we’ve got a few more games under our belt we’ll really be able to show people what we’ve got.”
Coach Witt also said that she is looking forward to the coming season.
“We have a lot of work to do, but I am excited with our potential,” she said. “We do have a long way to go, but these kids are committed to getting better.”